Banana Peanut Butter ‘Ice Cream’ with Cacao Nibs

Updated: March 4, 2019

Banana Peanut Butter 'Ice Cream' with Cacao Nibs

During the summer months, my cravings for cold, icy treats increase. Which is only natural 🙂

So instead of indulging in the corner store ice cream that tends to be loaded with inflammatory added sugars and artificial flavors, I’ve decided to play around with an “ice cream” treat that I can feel pretty good about.

This banana peanut butter ice cream makes use of any ripe bananas you have (which I always have) and adds some natural peanut butter (for some healthy fat) and cacao nibs to give it an antioxidant boost! I love chocolate – so adding cacao satisfies my craving every single time. Plus, it’s good for you.

AlgaeCal’s COO, Vivian, recently sent me this comparison of cocoa vs. cacao and we got to chatting about the benefits. And if you don’t already know what cocoa or cacao is, I’ll give you a quick run down.

Cocoa and cacao both come from the Theobroma cacao tree, which is native to South America and produces seed pods. These pods are then cracked open to harvest the beans inside. In fact, they look a lot like coffee beans.

But the next step is where the beans either become cacao or cocoa.

Cacao: is minimally processed. The beans are fermented and dried and then heated at a low temperature. The heating is necessary as it separates the fatty part of the bean from the rest. This fatty part of the bean can be made into cacao butter. It’s white, tastes a bit like white chocolate and can be used in baking or as a moisturizer (lip balms, lotions etc.) Cacao powder is what manufacturers mill into powder after the fatty part of the bean is separated during the heating process. Cacao nibs on the other hand, which is what we’re using in today’s recipe are just cacao beans that have been chopped into small chunks. They taste like a less sweet version of chocolate chips and don’t have all the added sugars and artificial sweeteners (YAY).

Cocoa: is heated at much higher temperatures. The benefit? It results in a sweeter flavor, but lesser health benefits. Unfortunately, the high heat alters the nutrient composition of the bean and changes its structure at a molecular level.

The antioxidant levels in foods are expressed as an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value.

When it comes to cacao vs cocoa, 100 grams of…

    • raw cacao powder = 95,500 ORAC value
    • cocoa powder 26,000 ORAC value

The higher the better, obviously.

Bottom line: Cacao is more beneficial than cocoa (although that doesn’t mean cocoa isn’t beneficial) as it has more powerful antioxidant effects and retains its nutrient composition better. That’s why we’re going to add 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs to our ice cream recipe below. You won’t be disappointed! I promise.

Banana Peanut Butter 'Ice Cream' with Cacao Nibs

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Cacao Nibs

Easy to make and has healthy fat and antioxidants!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2 servings
Calories 221 kcal


  • 2 bananas frozen
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2-3 tbsp almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs


  • Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender
  • Blend until smooth!


Calories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 5gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 94mgPotassium: 526mgFiber: 4gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 75IUVitamin C: 10.2mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 0.6mg
Keyword dairy-free, ice cream
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Peanut Butter Ice Cream

You can enjoy this immediately, or freeze and store for later.

Looking for other indulge-worthy recipes that won’t make you feel guilty? Download our FREE Recipes for Stronger Bones Ebook for more!


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  1. Tessie Doblar

    August 17, 2016 , 9:25 am

    Where can I purchase the cacao nibs? How do I know if it’s natural peanut butter?

  2. Jessica

    August 19, 2016 , 11:28 am

    Hi Tessie

    Thanks so much for reading this recipe. You can find organic cacao nibs at your local health foods store. Most of the organic stores that I have seen do carry organic cacao nibs – they’re popular because they’re so yummy! Some grocers have them too, but not all the time.
    Just check with the clerk or shop assistant about the peanut butter, if it doesn’t say on the jar already. You can also buy organic peanuts and blend it into a nut butter yourself. We’re doing a recipe on how to make your own natural nut butters soon. Keep your eyes peeled!


    – Jess @ Algaecal

  3. Nancy

    August 29, 2016 , 2:51 pm

    Any idea of the carb count on this? 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter recently diagnosed with TID.

  4. Monica

    August 30, 2016 , 9:08 am

    Hi Nancy,

    2 small bananas ~ 46 grams
    2 tbsp. of natural peanut butter 6 grams
    1 tbsp. of cacao nibs 3.1 grams
    2-3 tbsp. of almond milk 0 grams
    Total carb intake for recipe (~2 servings): 55.1 grams of carbs

    I often use the following website: to calculate what is in foods.

    Hope this helps!

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,